Healthful Living


Chapter 20—Stimulants

General Statements

482. The use of unnatural stimulants is destructive to health, and has a benumbing influence upon the brain, making it impossible to appreciate eternal things.—Testimonies for the Church 1:549. HL 106.1

483. Never be betrayed into indulging in the use of stimulants; for this will result not only in reaction and loss of physical strength, but in a benumbed intellect.—Testimonies for the Church 4:214. HL 106.2

484. It is these hurtful stimulants that are surely undermining the constitution and preparing the system for acute diseases, by impairing nature's fine machinery, and battering down her fortifications erected against disease and premature decay.—Testimonies for the Church 1:549. HL 106.3

485. Because these stimulants produce for the time being such agreeable results, many conclude that they really need them, and continue their use. But there is always a reaction. The nervous system, having been unduly excited, borrowed power for present use from its future resources of strength. All this temporary invigoration of the system is followed by depression. In proportion as these stimulants temporarily invigorate the system, will be the letting down of the power of the excited organs after the stimulus has lost its force.—Testimonies for the Church 3:487. HL 106.4

486. Excitement will be followed by depression.—The Review and Herald, May 8, 1883. HL 107.1

Tea and Coffee

487. Tea has an influence to excite the nerves, and coffee benumbs the brain; both are highly injurious.—Testimonies for the Church 4:365. HL 107.2

488. Tea, coffee, and flesh meats produce an immediate effect. Under the influence of these poisons the nervous system is excited, and in some cases, for the time being, the intellect seems to be invigorated, and the imagination to be more vivid.—Testimonies for the Church 3:487. HL 107.3

489. To a certain extent, tea produces intoxication. It enters into the circulation, and gradually impairs the energy of body and mind. It stimulates, excites, and quickens the motion of the living machinery, forcing it to unnatural action, and thus gives the tea drinker the impression that it is doing him great service, imparting to him strength. This is a mistake. Tea draws upon the strength of the nerves, and leaves them greatly weakened. When its influence is gone and the increased action caused by its use is abated, then what is the result?—Languor and debility corresponding to the artificial vivacity the tea imparted. When the system is already overtaxed and needs rest, the use of tea spurs up nature by stimulation to perform unwonted, unnatural action, and thereby lessens her power to perform, and her ability to endure; and her powers give out long before Heaven designed they should. Tea is poisonous to the system. Christians should let it alone.... The second effect of tea drinking is headache, wakefulness, palpitation of the heart, indigestion, trembling of the nerves, and many other evils.—Testimonies for the Church 2:64, 65. HL 107.4

490. The influence of coffee is in a degree the same as tea, but the effect upon the system is still worse. Its influence is exciting, and just in the degree that it elevates above par, it will exhaust and bring prostration below par. Tea and coffee drinkers carry the marks upon their faces. The skin becomes sallow, and assumes a lifeless appearance. The glow of health is not seen upon the countenance. HL 108.1

Tea and coffee do not nourish the system. The relief obtained from them is sudden, before the stomach has had time to digest them. This shows that what the users of these stimulants call strength is only received by exciting the nerves of the stomach, which convey the irritation to the brain, and this in turn is aroused to impart increased action to the heart, and short-lived energy to the entire system. All this is false strength, that we are the worse for having. They do not give a particle of natural strength.—Testimonies for the Church 2:65. HL 108.2

491. The stimulating diet and drink of this day are not conducive to the best state of health. Tea, coffee, and tobacco are all stimulating, and contain poisons. They are not only unnecessary, but harmful, and should be discarded if we would add to knowledge temperance.—The Review and Herald, February 21, 1888. HL 108.3

492. There is need of a better understanding of the principles of health reform. Temperance in eating, drinking, and dressing is essential. The advocates of temperance should place their standard on a broader platform. They would then be laborers together with God. With every iota of their influence they should encourage the spread of reform principles. Let appetite rule instead of principle, and the whole machinery will be implicated. The violation of physical law is a violation of the law of God. Those who eat too much, and whose food is of an objectionable quality are easily led into dissipation.—Unpublished Testimonies, August 25, 1897. HL 108.4

493. He calls upon them to sacrifice their idols. They should lay aside such stimulants as tobacco, tea, and coffee.—Testimonies for the Church 1:224. HL 109.1

494. The highly seasoned flesh meats and tea and coffee, which some mothers encourage their children to use, prepare the way for them to crave stronger stimulants, as tobacco.—Testimonies for the Church 3:488. HL 109.2


495. The use of tobacco encourages the appetite for liquor; and the use of tobacco and liquor invariably lessens nerve power.—Testimonies for the Church 3:488. HL 109.3

496. By the use of alcoholic drinks and narcotics and the flesh of diseased animals, man has distorted and crippled the Lord's divine arrangements. Nature does her best to expel the poisonous drug tobacco, but frequently she is overborne, gives up her struggle, and life is sacrificed in the conflict.—Unpublished Testimonies, January 11, 1897. HL 109.4

497. Tobacco, in whatever form it is used, tells upon the constitution. It is a slow poison. It affects the brain and benumbs the sensibilities so that the mind cannot discern spiritual things, especially those truths which would have a tendency to correct this filthy indulgence. Those who use tobacco in any form are not clear before God. In such a filthy practise it is impossible for them to glorify God in their bodies and spirits, which are his. And while they are using slow and sure poisons, which are ruining their health and debasing the faculties of the mind, God cannot approbate them. He may be merciful to them while they indulge in this pernicious habit in ignorance of the injury it is doing them; but when the matter is set before them in its true light, then they are guilty before God if they continue to indulge this gross appetite.—Spiritual Gifts Volume 4a, 126. HL 109.5

498. Tobacco is a poison of the most deceitful and malignant kind, having an exciting, then a paralyzing, influence upon the nerves of the body. It is all the more dangerous because its effects upon the system are so slow, and at first scarcely perceivable.—Spiritual Gifts Volume 4a, 128. HL 110.1

499. Tobacco is a slow, insidious poison, and its effects are more difficult to cleanse from the system than those of liquor.—Testimonies for the Church 3:569. HL 110.2

500. Tobacco using is a habit which frequently affects the nervous system in a more powerful manner than does the use of alcohol. It binds the victim in stronger bands of slavery than does the intoxicating cup; the habit is more difficult to overcome. Body and mind are, in many cases, more thoroughly intoxicated with the use of tobacco than with spirituous liquors; for it is a more subtle poison.—Testimonies for the Church 3:562. HL 110.3

501. It is unpleasant, if not dangerous, to remain in a railroad car or in a crowded room that is not thoroughly ventilated, where the atmosphere is impregnated with the properties of liquor and tobacco. The occupants give evidence by the breath and emanations from the body that the system is filled with the poison of liquor and tobacco.—Testimonies for the Church 3:562. HL 110.4

502. Many infants are poisoned beyond remedy by sleeping in beds with their tobacco-using fathers. By inhaling the poisonous tobacco effluvium, which is thrown from the lungs and pores of the skin, the system of the infant is filled with poison. While it acts upon some infants as a slow poison, and affects the brain, heart, liver, and lungs, and they waste away and fade gradually; upon others it has a more direct influence, causing spasms, paralysis, and sudden death. The bereaved parents mourn the loss of their loved ones, and wonder at the mysterious providence of God, which has so cruelly afflicted them, when Providence designed not the death of these infants. They died martyrs to the filthy lust for tobacco. Every exhalation of the lungs of the tobacco slave poisons the air about him.—The Health Reformer, January 1, 1872. HL 111.1

503. Tobacco and liquor stupefy and defile the user. But the evil does not stop here. He transmits irritable tempers, polluted blood, enfeebled intellects, and weak morals to his children, and renders himself accountable for all the evil results that his wrong and dissipated course of life brings upon his family and the community.—Testimonies for the Church 4:30. HL 111.2


504. The tables of our American people are generally prepared in a manner to make drunkards.... By the use of tea and coffee an appetite is formed for tobacco, and this encourages the appetite for liquors.... Youth in general are governed by impulse and are slaves to appetite. In the glutton, the tobacco devotee, the wine-bibber, and the inebriate, we see the evil results of defective education.—Testimonies for the Church 3:563. HL 111.3

505. The only safe course is to touch not, taste not, handle not, tea, coffee, wines, tobacco, opium, and alcoholic drinks.—Testimonies for the Church 3:488. HL 112.1

506. If men would become temperate in all things, if they would touch not, taste not, handle not, spirituous liquors and narcotics, reason would hold the reins of government in her hands, and control the animal appetites and passions.—Testimonies for the Church 3:561. HL 112.2

507. Persons may become just as really intoxicated on wine and cider as on stronger drinks, and the worst kind of inebriation is produced by these so-called milder drinks. The passions are more perverse; the transformation of character is greater, more determined and obstinate. A few quarts of cider or sweet wine may awaken a taste for strong drinks, and many who have become confirmed drunkards have thus laid the foundation of the drinking habit.... Moderate drinking is the school in which men are receiving an education for the drunkard's career. The taste for stimulants is cultivated; the nervous system is disordered; Satan keeps the mind in a fever of unrest; and the poor victim, imagining himself perfectly secure, goes on and on, until every barrier is broken down, every principle sacrificed.—The Review and Herald, March 25, 1884. HL 112.3

508. The Bible nowhere teaches the use of intoxicating wine, either as a beverage or as a symbol of the blood of Christ. We appeal to the natural reason whether the blood of Christ is better represented by the pure juice of the grape in its natural state, or after it has been converted into a fermented and intoxicating wine.... We urge that the latter should never be placed upon the Lord's table.... We protest that Christ never made intoxicating wine; such an act would have been contrary to all the teachings and examples of his life.... The wine which Christ manufactured from water by a miracle of his power was the pure juice of the grape.—The Health Reformer, July 1, 1878. HL 113.1

Effects of the Use of Alcoholic Drinks

509. The use of tobacco and liquor invariably lessens nerve power.—Testimonies for the Church 3:489. HL 113.2

510. A tendency to disease of various kinds, as dropsy, liver complaint, trembling nerves, and the determination of the blood to the head, results from the habitual use of sour cider. By its use many bring upon themselves permanent disease. Some die of consumption or fall under the power of apoplexy from this cause alone. Some suffer from dyspepsia. Every vital function refuses to act, and the physician tells them they have liver complaint, when if they would break in the head of the cider barrel, and never give way to the temptation to replace it, their abused life forces would recover their vigor.—The Review and Herald, March 25, 1884. HL 113.3

511. A single glass of wine may open the door of temptation which will lead to habits of drunkenness.—Testimonies for the Church 4:578. HL 113.4

512. When the appetite for spirituous liquor is indulged, the man voluntarily places to his lips the draught which debases below the level of the brute him who was made in the image of God. Reason is paralyzed, the intellect is benumbed, the animal passions are excited, and then follow crimes of the most debasing character.—Testimonies for the Church 3:561. HL 114.1

513. The law authorizes the sale of liquor, and then has to build prisons for the victims; for nine tenths of those who are taken to prison are those who have learned to drink.—The Review and Herald, May 8, 1894. HL 114.2

514. How many frightful accidents occur through the influence of drink.... What is the portion of this terrible intoxicant that any man can take, and be safe with the lives of human beings? He can be safe only as he abstains from drink. No intoxicant should pass his lips; then if a disaster comes, men in responsible positions can do their best, and meet their record with satisfaction, whatever may be the issue.—The Review and Herald, May 29, 1894. HL 114.3

515. Liquor-drinking men may be seen everywhere. Their intellect is enfeebled, their moral powers are weakened, their sensibilities are benumbed, and the claims of God and heaven are not realized, eternal things are not appreciated. The Bible declares that no drunkard shall inherit the kingdom of God.... Intemperance of any kind is the worst kind of selfishness.—Testimonies for the Church 4:30, 31. HL 114.4

Cure for the Liquor Habit

516. What cure would you advise for a person who thus indulges a habit that is rebuked even by the beasts of the field? The word of God has denounced it: no drunkard shall enter the kingdom of God. What would you recommend to cure such an appetite? You would not say, “You may use strong drink moderately. Continue within bounds, but never indulge to excess.” You would rather say, “There is no such thing as helping you unless you co-operate fully with my efforts, and sign the pledge of total abstinence. You have by indulgence made your habit second nature, and it cannot be controlled unless the moral power shall be aroused, and you look unto Jesus, trusting in the grace he shall give to overcome this unnatural craving.” You would say, “You have lost your self-control. Your self-indulgence is not only a moral sin, but it has become a physical disease. You are not your own; you are God's property. He has purchased you with an infinite price, and every faculty is to be employed in his service. Keep your body in a healthy condition to do his will; keep your intellect clear and active to think candidly and critically, and to control all your powers.”—Unpublished Testimonies, October 12, 1896. HL 114.5

Alcohol in Disease

517. The taste created for the disgusting, filthy poison, tobacco, leads to the desire for stronger stimulants, as liquor, which is taken on one plea or another, for some imaginary infirmity, or to prevent some possible disease.—Testimonies for the Church 4:30. HL 115.1

518. By advising friends and neighbors to take brandy for the sake of their health, they are in danger of becoming agents for the destruction of their friends.... Physicians are responsible for making many drunkards. Knowing what drink will do for its lovers, they have taken upon themselves the responsibility of prescribing it for their patients. Did they reason from cause to effect, they would know that stimulants would have the same effect on each individual organ of the body that they have on the whole man. What excuse can doctors render for the influence they have exerted in making fathers and mothers drunkards?—The Review and Herald, May 29, 1894. HL 115.2

519. Go with me to yonder sick-room. There lies a husband and father, a man who is a blessing to society and to the cause of God. He has been suddenly stricken down by disease. The fire of fever seems consuming him. He longs for pure water to moisten the parched lips, to quench the raging thirst, and cool the fevered brow. But no; the doctor has forbidden water. The stimulus of strong drink is given, which adds fuel to the fire.... For a time nature wrestles for her rights, but at last, overcome, she gives up the contest, and death sets the sufferer free.—Testimonies for the Church 5:195. HL 116.1

520. Those who do not control their appetites in eating are guilty of intemperance.... With many, their first error is in making a god of their appetite, subsisting mostly on highly seasoned animal food, which produces a feverish state of the system, especially if pork is used freely. The blood becomes impure. The circulation is not equalized. Chills and fever follow. The appetite fails. They think something must be done, and perhaps send for ale, which stimulates for the time, but as soon as the influence of the ale is gone, they sink as much lower, and a continual use of the ale keeps them stimulated and overexcited. They think that the ale was of so much benefit to them that they must continue its use. After a while it loses its influence; then they use a stronger beverage, until they give themselves up to every excess, and man formed in the image of his Maker degrades himself lower than the beasts. It required time to benumb the sensibilities of the mind. It was done gradually, but surely.— Spiritual Gifts Volume 4a, 126. HL 116.2